SmartUp has the potential to impact individual lives and broader communities by supporting job creation and wealth generation in high-potential communities. Our goals are to connect entrepreneurs to resources, strengthen existing entrepreneurial ecosystems, and fundamentally change how individuals and struggling communities perceive themselves. Our goal is to help produce more job growth within our 3 year program, while also supporting activities to build wealth with local community members.


The SmartUp program will support local businesses committed to local hiring. The purpose of this program is to work closely with businesses in order to transform communities. “High- potential communities” have potential for positive change because of high un/underemployment. The SmartUP program will support work in Elizabeth City, NC, North Charleston, SC, and a third community. This program is built on the existing framework of the Kenan Institute’s flagship economic development program, NCGrowth.

Sponsored by the SunTrust Foundation, in partnership with the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.